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Landfill fees to change Jan. 1

WILLMAR -- Look for the fee structure at the Kandiyohi County landfill to change, starting Jan. 1. The County Board of Commissioners has adopted revisions in the county's solid waste ordinance that change the landfill tipping fees and increase th...

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The Kandiyohi County Landfill fee structure will change, starting Jan. 1. Among the changes the minimum fee for those who self-haul their garbage is going up. And for safety, self-haulers such as those shown in the background of this June 2015 photo will no longer be allowed into the landfill itself. Rand Middleton / Tribune file photo

WILLMAR - Look for the fee structure at the Kandiyohi County landfill to change, starting Jan. 1.

The County Board of Commissioners has adopted revisions in the county's solid waste ordinance that change the landfill tipping fees and increase the environmental service charge. New restrictions also will be placed on county residents who bring their own garbage to the landfill.

In most cases customers will pay slightly more, either in direct costs or indirectly through their commercial garbage collection bill.

County officials say the changes are necessary to extend the lifespan of the county landfill and generate enough revenue to sustain landfill operations and the recycling and household hazardous waste collection programs.

The amendments adopted last week are for the long-term safety and viability of the landfill, said Roger Imdieke, chairman of the County Board.

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"Some price increase would have been inevitable," he said.

The tipping fee for garbage generated within Kandiyohi County will be lowered, but the fee will increase for garbage generated outside the county, a move that is expected to significantly reduce the volume of out-of-county waste and preserve the landfill's lifespan an extra seven years, through 2050.

To offset the loss of revenue from that change, the environmental service charge, which is collected by commercial garbage haulers through customer billing and remitted to the county, will increase. For most residential customers, it will mean an additional $1 to $2 each billing cycle. The increase to commercial customers is estimated at $3 to $4 per billing cycle.

In addition, the minimum fee for those who self-haul their garbage is going up. Self-haulers also will be restricted to three days a week and will have to pay more if they come to the landfill on non-designated days.

All of the changes apply to garbage disposal. Use of the landfill's demolition disposal site is unaffected.

Before voting, the County Commissioners heard from members of the public who voiced concerns about the fee revisions and the prospect of higher costs.

Megan Gilles of Willmar said she and her family recycle everything they can, including composting table scraps for use in their garden.

She said she finds it "disheartening" that garbage collection and disposal costs are going up and urged more emphasis on reduction, reuse and recycling.

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"The recycling program should be a priority," she said.

Graden West of New London had similar concerns with the pending price increase. "It just doesn't seem fair," he said.

Scott Lundquist of Spicer questioned the need to restrict self-haulers to certain days of the week. Traffic from this segment of landfill users could skyrocket on Saturdays, and many self-haulers will probably continue to come on non-designated days anyway, he said.

Monday through Saturday "works just fine" for the general public that self-hauls their garbage, Lundquist said.

In a nod to Lundquist's concerns about traffic, the commissioners agreed to designate three days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Saturday - to provide greater convenience for self-haulers. But they didn't want to budge on the higher fees, and they also agreed with a staff recommendation to restrict self-haulers to a set of roll-off boxes that will be installed near the landfill entrance, instead of allowing them into the landfill.

It's a safety and efficiency issue, said Jeff Bredberg, director of environmental services.

"We've seen a dramatic increase in self-haulers," he said.

Bredberg defended the fee increases, saying that without them, efforts to prolong the lifespan of the landfill by reducing out-of-county waste would plunge the landfill budget in the red - and this money is needed to help sustain the county's recycling and household hazardous waste programs.

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"We do have to make that up," he said of the lost revenue.

The County Commissioners used the discussion Oct. 18 to also urge county residents to recycle as much as they can. It's the easiest way to reduce pressure on the landfill, Imdieke said.

Commissioner Jim Butterfield, who sits on the county recycling committee, said the group is working hard to find ways of promoting more recycling and would welcome more participation and involvement from the public.

"Recycling is on the front burner of Kandiyohi County," he said.

Related Topics: KANDIYOHI COUNTYENVIRONMENT
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